Jumat, 25 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Top Science Headlines

for Friday, February 25, 2011

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Nerve bundles in visual cortex of the brain in blind people may process sense of touch (February 25, 2011) -- Nerve bundles in the visual cortex of the brain in blind people may process the sense of touch. ... > full story

Change in PSA level does not predict prostate cancer, study finds (February 25, 2011) -- Researchers have found that change in PSA levels over time -- known as PSA velocity -- is a poor predictor of prostate cancer and may lead to many unnecessary biopsies. ... > full story

Homoplasy: A good thread to pull to understand the evolutionary ball of yarn (February 25, 2011) -- With the genetics of so many organisms that have different traits yet to study, and with the techniques for gathering full sets of genetic information from organisms rapidly evolving, the "forest" of evolution can be easily lost to the "trees" of each individual case and detail. ... > full story

Prevalence of bunions increases with age; more common in women (February 25, 2011) -- New research determined that an increase in the severity of hallux valgus, or bunion deformity, progressively reduced both general and foot-specific health related quality of life. Bunion deformity was found in 36% of the study population and occurred more frequently in women and older individuals. ... > full story

Cod fish with mini-thermometers (February 25, 2011) -- Hundreds of cod equipped with high-tech mini-thermometers have helped determine which water temperatures the fish can handle. ... > full story

Analysis shows which people most likely found incompetent to stand trial (February 25, 2011) -- People found incompetent to stand trial are more likely to be unemployed, have been previously diagnosed with a psychotic disorder or have had psychiatric hospitalization, according to an analysis of 50 years of research. ... > full story

Migrating cells flow like glass: Research advances understanding of wound healing, cancer metastasis, and embryonic development (February 25, 2011) -- By studying cellular movements at the level of both the individual cell and the collective group, applied physicists have discovered that migrating tissues flow very much like colloidal glass. ... > full story

Cell pathway key to insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes illuminated (February 25, 2011) -- Scientists have shed new light on the problem of insulin resistance, and identified the key participants in a molecular pathway that holds therapeutic promise for reducing the severity of Type 2 diabetes. ... > full story

Semporna area on island of Borneo, Malaysia, may have richest marine biodiversity in the world (February 25, 2011) -- Semporna may have the world's highest marine biodiversity. A recent expedition yielded a record number of 43 species of mushroom corals. Furthermore, some new species were discovered, among which at least two shrimps and possibly a number of gall crabs. The health of the reefs was judged to be relatively poor: 36 percent of transects had fair, another 36 percent had poor live coral cover. ... > full story

Protein could be new target to reduce damage after heart attack (February 25, 2011) -- A protein called fibronectin-EDA was linked to heart muscle damage after a heart attack in an animal study. Mice genetically altered to lack FN-EDA had less heart damage after a heart attack. Researchers suggest these findings hold potential for therapies to reduce or prevent heart muscle damage after a heart attack. ... > full story

Catalogue of sustainable design resources developed (February 25, 2011) -- A new catalog of eco-friendly materials for use in the construction industry has been developed. ... > full story

Designing a city for safe protests (February 25, 2011) -- Recent events in Egypt proved that large urban spaces are essential to the healthy expression of civil dissent. Architects and city planners should design useful and effective spaces to allow for widespread assembly and civil participation, experts say. ... > full story

Ancient catastrophic drought leads to question: How severe can climate change become? (February 24, 2011) -- How severe can climate change become in a warming world? Worse than anything we've seen in written history, according to results of a study. An international team of scientists has compiled four dozen paleoclimate records from sediment cores in Lake Tanganyika and other locations in Africa. The records show that one of the most widespread and intense droughts of the last 50,000 years or more struck Africa and Southern Asia 17,000 to 16,000 years ago. ... > full story

Rare HIV-positive individuals shed light on how body could effectively handle infection (February 24, 2011) -- Although untreated HIV infection eventually results in immunodeficiency (AIDS), a small group of people infected with the virus, called elite suppressors (0.5 percent of all HIV-infected individuals), are naturally able to control infection in the absence of antiretroviral therapy, or HAART. Elite suppressors and HIV- infected individuals treated with HAART have similar levels of virus in the blood stream. ... > full story

Just like cars, developmental genes have more than one way to stop (February 24, 2011) -- There's more than one way to silence gene activity, according to one researcher. Downregulating activity is how healthy genes should shift out of their development cycle. New results explain how specific repressor proteins -- which researchers have named Hairy and Knirps -- slow genes during development and how the process is comparable to slowing down a car. ... > full story

Gene expression to distinguish metastasizing from non-metastasizing head and neck cancers (February 24, 2011) -- The validation of a test, based on gene expression and predicting the tumors that will metastasize in lymph nodes of head and neck cancers, was recently done. The test correctly predicted the absence of metastasis in 89% of the cases. ... > full story

Metallic molecules to nanotubes: Ruthenium complexes dissolve nanotubes, add functionality (February 24, 2011) -- A lab has stepped forward with an efficient method to disperse nanotubes in a way that preserves their unique properties -- and adds more. The new technique allows inorganic metal complexes with different functionalities to remain in close contact with single-walled carbon nanotubes while keeping them separated in a solution. ... > full story

Language patterns are roller-coaster ride during childhood development (February 24, 2011) -- Why, and when, do we learn to speak the way that we do? New research on African-American children presents an unexpected finding: language use can go on a roller-coaster ride during childhood as kids adopt and abandon vernacular language patterns. ... > full story

Planet formation in action? Astronomers may have found first object clearing its path in natal disc surrounding a young star (February 24, 2011) -- Astronomers have now studied the short-lived disc of material around a young star that is in the early stages of making a planetary system. For the first time a smaller companion could be detected that may be the cause of the large gap found in the disc. Future observations will determine whether this companion is a planet or a brown dwarf. ... > full story

Alzheimer's disease may be easily misdiagnosed (February 24, 2011) -- New research shows that Alzheimer's disease and other dementing illnesses may be easily misdiagnosed in the elderly, according to early results of a study of people in Hawaii who had their brains autopsied after death. ... > full story

How nature's patterns form (February 24, 2011) -- When people on airplanes ask Alan Newell what he works on, he tells them "flower arrangements." He could also say "fingerprints" or "sand ripples" or "how plants grow." "Most patterns you see, including the ones on sand dunes or fish or tigers or leopards or in the laboratory – even the defects in the patterns – have many universal features," he says. ... > full story

Whole fresh blood for transfusions may have a longer shelf life than now assumed (February 24, 2011) -- In a finding that may potentially improve survival from war injuries and disasters, laboratory researchers report that refrigerated whole blood may have a shelf life well beyond the current standard of 24 to 48 hours. The researchers found that whole blood retains its clotting properties at least 11 days under standard refrigeration. If confirmed in clinical studies, the finding could lead to improved survival for patients requiring massive transfusions. ... > full story

Green chemistry offers route towards zero-waste production (February 24, 2011) -- Novel green chemical technologies will play a key role helping society move towards the elimination of waste while offering a wider range of products from biorefineries, according to one expert. ... > full story

Is dairy colostrum the key to Olympic success? (February 24, 2011) -- Scientists investigating natural ways to enhance athletic performance have found that bovine colostrum can massively reduce gut permeability -- otherwise known as "leaky gut syndrome." Their findings could have positive implications not just for athletes but also for sufferers of heatstroke. ... > full story

Discovery of oldest northern North American human remains provides new insights into Ice-Age culture (February 24, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered the cremated skeleton of a Paleoindian child in the remains of an 11,500-year-old house in central Alaska. The findings reveal a slice of domestic life that has been missing from the record of the region's early people, who were among the first to colonize the Americas. ... > full story

Probiotic identified to treat ulcers (February 24, 2011) -- Researchers have identified a strain of probiotic bacteria that may be useful in treating ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori. ... > full story

Serotonin plays role in many autism cases, studies confirm (February 24, 2011) -- Nearly a third of cases of autism spectrum disorder may have a serotonin component. Scientists now provided further proof by using a serotonin-mimicking medication to improve the social behaviors of a particular type of mice. ... > full story

New method powerfully boosts efficiency of RNA interference (RNAi) in shutting down genes (February 24, 2011) -- Scientists have developed a powerful method that allows them to sift through thousands of candidate hairpin-shaped RNA molecules at a time and pull out only those RNAs that potently shut down the activity of a target gene. This accomplishment will now allow biologists to fully exploit RNA interference, a natural cellular mechanism that has already been co-opted by scientists for myriad purposes. ... > full story

Another spring of major flooding likely in North Central United States, NOAA predicts (February 24, 2011) -- A large swath of the country is at risk of moderate to major flooding this spring, from northeastern Montana through western Wisconsin following the Mississippi River south to St. Louis, National Weather Service flood experts are forecasting. The agency has released an initial spring flood outlook for this high risk region and will release a national spring flood outlook on March 17. ... > full story

Most 'locked-in syndrome' patients say they are happy (February 24, 2011) -- Most "locked-in syndrome" patients say they are happy, and many of the factors reported by those who say they are unhappy can be improved, suggest the results of the largest survey of its kind. ... > full story

New stretchable solar cells will power artificial electronic 'super skin' (February 24, 2011) -- "Super skin" is what one researcher wants to create. She's already developed a flexible sensor that is so sensitive to pressure it can feel a fly touch down. Now she's working to add the ability to detect chemicals and sense various kinds of biological molecules. She's also making the skin self-powering, using polymer solar cells to generate electricity. And the new solar cells are not just flexible, but stretchable -- they can be stretched up to 30 percent beyond their original length and snap back without any damage or loss of power. ... > full story

Entire T-cell receptor repertoire sequenced revealing extensive and unshared diversity (February 24, 2011) -- T-cell receptor diversity in blood samples from healthy individuals has been extensively cataloged for the first time, setting the stage for a better understanding of infectious disease, cancer, and immune system disorders. ... > full story

Bedside ultrasound becomes a reality (February 24, 2011) -- Clinicians have often referred to ultrasound technology as the "stethoscope of the future," predicting that as the equipment shrinks in size, it will one day be as common at the bedside as that trusty tool around every physician's neck. According to a new report, that day has arrived. ... > full story

Needle-in-a-haystack search identifies potential brain disease drug (February 24, 2011) -- Scientists who examined more than 10,000 chemical compounds during the last year in search of potential new drugs for a group of untreatable brain diseases, are reporting that one substance shows unusual promise. The early positive signs for so-called prion diseases come from research in laboratory mice and cell cultures. ... > full story

Quantum simulator becomes accessible to the world (February 24, 2011) -- Experimental physicists have put a lot of effort in isolating sensitive measurements from the disruptive influences of the environment. In an international first, Austrian quantum physicists have realized a toolbox of elementary building blocks for an open-system quantum simulator, where a controlled coupling to an environment is used in a beneficial way. This offers novel prospects for studying the behavior of highly complex quantum systems. ... > full story

New clue to the genetics of bipolar disorder: Piccolo (February 24, 2011) -- Understanding the genetics of bipolar disorder could lead to new treatments, but identifying specific genetic variations associated with this disorder has been challenging. A new study implicates a brain protein called Piccolo in the risk for inheriting bipolar disorder. In the orchestra of neuronal proteins, Piccolo is a member of a protein family that includes another protein called Bassoon. Piccolo is located at the endings of nerve cells, where it contributes to the ability of nerve cells to release their chemical messengers. ... > full story

Oscillating 'plug' of magma causes tremors that forecast volcanic eruptions (February 24, 2011) -- Geophysicists are offering a new explanation for seismic tremors accompanying volcanic eruptions that could advance forecasting of explosive eruptions such as recent events at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, Chaiten Volcano in Chile, and Mount St. Helens in Washington State. ... > full story

Hyperactive nerve cells may contribute to depression (February 24, 2011) -- Scientists have identified hyperactive cells in a tiny brain structure that may play an important role in depression. The study, conducted in rats, is helping to reveal a cellular mechanism for depressive disorders that could lead to new, effective treatments. ... > full story

Gaze-following abilities in wolves (February 24, 2011) -- Following others' gaze direction is an important source of information that helps to detect prey or predators, to notice important social events within one's social group and to predict the next actions of others. As such, it is considered a key step towards an understanding of mental states, such as attention and intention. Researchers have now observed this behavior in wolves, a behavior previously only observed in birds and primates. ... > full story

New finding in ribosome signaling may lead to improved antibiotics (February 24, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a signaling mechanism in the bacterial ribosome that detects proteins that activate genes for antibiotic resistance. ... > full story

New transmission concept for wind turbines: Higher energy yield with torque vectoring gears (February 24, 2011) -- Wind turbines have a problem: Depending on the wind's force, the rotational speed of the turbine and thus of the generator changes. However, alternating current must be fed into the grid with precisely 50 (or 60) hertz. Typically the generated alternating current is first rectified and then transformed back to alternating current of the required frequency. Scientists have now developed an active transmission that makes this double transformation superfluous. ... > full story

How metaphors shape the debate about crime fighting (February 24, 2011) -- Imagine your city isn't as safe as it used to be. Robberies are on the rise, home invasions are increasing and murder rates have nearly doubled in the past three years. What should city officials do about it? Hire more cops to round up the thugs and lock them away in a growing network of prisons? Or design programs that promise more peace by addressing issues like a faltering economy and underperforming schools? Your answer -- and the reasoning behind it -- can hinge on the metaphor being used to describe the problem, according to new research by psychologists. Your thinking can even be swayed with just one word, they say. ... > full story

Quantum hot potato: Researchers entice two atoms to swap smallest energy units (February 24, 2011) -- Physicists have for the first time coaxed two atoms in separate locations to take turns jiggling back and forth while swapping the smallest measurable units of energy. By directly linking the motions of two physically separated atoms, the technique has the potential to simplify information processing in future quantum computers and simulations. ... > full story

Steroids to treat asthma: How safe are they? (February 24, 2011) -- Children experiencing an asthma attack who are treated with a short burst of oral steroids may have a brief and transient depression of immune response, according to a new study. These findings have implications for asthmatic children who have flare-ups and who may be exposed to new contagious diseases. ... > full story

New high-performance lithium-ion battery 'top candidate' for electric cars (February 24, 2011) -- Scientists are reporting development of an advanced lithium-ion battery that is ideal for powering the electric vehicles now making their way into dealer showrooms. The new battery can store large amounts of energy in a small space and has a high rate capacity, meaning it can provide current even in extreme temperatures. ... > full story

Gender does not play a role in risk of death from heart attack, study suggests (February 24, 2011) -- A new study shows that being a woman may not increase your risk of dying from treatment for a severe heart attack. ... > full story

Launching balloons in Antarctica (February 24, 2011) -- They nicknamed it the "Little Balloon That Could." Launched in December of 2010 from McMurdo Station in Antarctica, the research balloon was a test run and it bobbed lower every day like it had some kind of leak. But every day for five days it rose back up in the sky to some 112,000 feet in the air. Down on Earth, physicist Robyn Millan was cheering it on, hoping the test launch would bode well for the success of her grand idea: launches in 2013 and 2014 of 20 such balloons to float in the circular wind patterns above the South Pole. Each balloon will help track electrons from space that get swept up in Earth's magnetic field and slide down into our atmosphere. Such electrons are an integral part of the turbulent magnetic space weather system that extends from the sun to Earth. ... > full story

Link between unhealthy behaviors and socioeconomic status differs between countries (February 24, 2011) -- Although socioeconomic status and health behaviors are strong predictors of mortality, there are major differences in the social patterning of unhealthy behaviors in different countries. ... > full story

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